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Chula Vista 'hero' teen recovering from gunshot wounds

Chula Vista 'hero' teen recovering from gunshot wounds
Posted at 3:06 PM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 20:49:20-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A South Bay mother is giving thanks this holiday for an improving prognosis for her son, who shielded her during a shooting outside a Chula Vista bar.

“I get to be with my son for Thanksgiving, so that’s all that matters,” said Michelle Herrera.

On this Thanksgiving holiday, a thankful mom will spend her day in the hospital.

“I'm very grateful for my son, my hero,” said Herrera.

She is grateful after so much uncertainty.

“It's my baby. He didn't deserve this,” said a tearful Herrera during in interview with ABC 10News last week.

Herrera first spoke out days after her 16-year-old son, Jorge Martinez, was shot three times outside On The Rocks Cocktails early on a Saturday morning.

A friend had called Herrera asking for a ride after a night out. Jorge, not wanting his mother to go alone, went along for the ride.

Outside the bar, Herrera says a man attacked her friend and then her, and after her son jumped out of the car to help, there was a hail of gunfire.

Herrera didn't see the shooter. As the bullets flew, Herrera says her son tried to shield her.

“He goes in front of me, just to cover me so they wouldn't hit me … He said, ‘Mom, I’ve been shot, I love you,’” said Herrera.

The shooter ran off. Richard Bernal, 41, was shot and died at the hospital.

Jorge was shot three times: in the thigh, in his side and in the back, the bullet lodging in his spine.

Doctors told her the bullet had to be removed, but paralysis was a possibility. After a delicate, 6-hour surgery, Herrera saw was she had been hoping for. Jorge was able to move his hands and toes, and later, hug loved ones.

“He smiled. He’s grateful … It made me so happy,” said Herrera.

On Wednesday, Chula Vista Police announced they had identified a suspect in the shooting, 33-year-old Tracy Reasonover, arrested in Illinois.

“It was a relief,” said Herrera.

For Herrera, it means a chance at justice, as her son heals.

“I have a lot of hope for my son and his future,” said Herrera.

Police say after Reasonover is extradited back to the San Diego area, he will be booked on murder and other charges.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help Jorge's family with expenses.